Ellen

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24 May 2010 Entry: "The Time Has Come"


Phew nearly Mysteries time. What a month.
The reading at the Troubadour was a triumph, though I say it myself. I got a lot of very positive feedback and promises of more readings and sold 7 of my 10 books, so I was pleased. The other readers were good too, we all sold books. The Troubadour has a strong core audience who are very serious listeners and generous with their money!
I was staying with a friend who is a solicitor at The Guardian, and she offered to show me round the building on the Tuesday 11th May - and also took me in to the morningís regular staff conference. Of course it was packed because everyone was discussing what would happen with the hung parliament, so all the top minds and journalists at the Guardian were putting forward their thoughts - you couldnít move for bodies in the room, they just kept squashing in. A very exciting event.
Meanwhile back at the Mysteries - we had a disaster when one of our major dancers fell and dislocated his shoulder, so very last minute weíve found a replacement, whoís just as good, but not a lot of time to rehearse him in. Heís a dancer so thereís no problem with the moves, but learning lines on top is a challenge. All the costumes are dyed and now have a Cain or an Abel tag sprayed across the t-shirts. Weíve got a taxidermy sheep for one of the offerings - all the girls said Eugh! itís creepy.
On the day of the last rehearsal, Saturday, our director thought sheíd broken her finger and had to go off to A&E to have her ring cut off. Luckily it wasnít broken, but it broke up the rehearsal somewhat. Sunday night we were down on the Sands plotting lights at 11.00 in the evening! It was wonderful to see the full stage - I think itís going to be very impressive, but accessible too. And the lights can twirl about, change colour or pattern and all controlled by computer. Itís very clever. We just need a chance to rehearse in the actual space, with all the props and set - that is happening tonight in a Technical and Wednesday 26th May on our Dress rehearsal.
Weíve got one our older dancers, who is a Design and computer whizz student to put some of the choral raps into a video format so that the words will come up in sequence on the LED screens at the side of the stage, and when the words arenít up. there will be camera operators sending live feed to the screens. Iím just worried the dancers will be tripping over them. But I expect they are professional enough not to get in the way...
I thought I was just writing the Mystery play, but in reality, Iíve been Mrs Right hand woman, directorís assistant, stage manager buying costumes, organising the tag graffiti, sound technician and music advisor, and administrator for transport arrangements. Itís fun - itís Show Biz - but itís full on. And Iím a fretter - I worry about all the little details, so I wake up at 4 in the morning thinking S**T, I havenít hemmed the Tag material (In fact I got a very good friend to do that on her industrial sewing machine, thanks a million Jane!). Now Iím taxi person, taking my son and others to Durham. I think I shall be more nervous than them.
And in the middle of all of this, I discovered to my delight that I have been accepted for New Writing Northís Fast Track Fiction course! This is designed for writers with a first draft of a novel, to help them get a finished draft, and give us advice on approaching agents and publishers. I have a first draft of a novel for 12+ year olds, my first in prose as opposed to in poems, so I really do need a good eye over it. Iíve tried to make it very plot-led. In fact the plot was leading me, so I Ďm not sure if Iíve got to the end, or the end of a first book in a series. Debbie Taylor, ex Mslexia editor, is our mentor, and she really is the business. Itís a bit difficult with my head full of Cain and Abel at the moment, but after Saturday, I can focus on my writing once more.
And if anyone is tempted to buy tickets for the Mysteries, donít be put off when it says sold out - it is for the two shows at the Gala and the Cathedral, but you should still be able to buy tickets for The Sands - the other eight performances, including Cain and Abel. My advice is wrap up warm, it got quite cool by ten oíclock.
The Time Has Come... if you want to know what that refers to, youíll just have to come along. See you there?

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